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How to drive safely around large trucks

While 18-wheelers may seem intimidating, it's not too hard to stay safe around them. Drivers in California should consider the following tips the next time they find themselves sharing the road with a big rig. It all comes down to having patience and being aware of the dangers.

The most important thing is to never take chances. When trucks turn into their lane, drivers should not speed up to avoid getting stuck behind them as this may force the trucks to brake suddenly. Some trucks take twice as long to stop as ordinary vehicles. Drivers should give plenty of space when passing. They should never squeeze behind or beside trucks when making turns since trucks will swing wide to the opposite direction before turning.

Underrides and overrides are two major causes of truck collisions. The former occurs when a car rear-ends a truck and slides under it while the latter takes place when a truck rear-ends a car and rides on top of it. Though trucks weighing 10,000 pounds or more are required to have underride guards, they're not always effective.

Drivers must also remember that trucks come with multiple blind spots. These 'no-zones" cause a third of all accidents between trucks and cars, according to the FMCSA. Drivers should also be extra cautious in bad weather. Trucks will splash and spray rain, mud and snow.

When semitruck accidents do occur, it's usually the driver of the car that suffers. The result can be anything from catastrophic injuries to death. If the victim or his or her family believe that the truck driver was negligent, there may be grounds for an injury claim or a wrongful death suit. A lawyer can bring in investigators and accident reconstruction experts to build up the case and calculate a fair settlement, which may be achieved either by negotiations or litigation.

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